Isabel Alejandra Hamlet

As Interviewed by Abby Rindfuss, March 13, 2015

Isabel Alejandra Hamlet: In Her Own Words

In this podcast, you will hear Isabella Alejandra Hamlet’s views on Mexican Immigration to the United States as she shares with us her experience, as well as her observations on immigration throughout the US.

My name is Isabella Alejandra Hamlet and I am a stay at home mom, and I've been in the US since 1996. I came as a student. I moved to the US to go to grad school, to get a masters in business administration and international marketing. I was 24 years old. I've been in the US on every possible immigration status. That means I have been in the US as a tourist, then I came and became a student, then I had a employment authorization document that allowed me to work, I had a work visa, I had a green card, and now I’m a citizen.

The green card is a document that allows you to be permanently in this country, but you do not have the right to vote, or to hold office. So, that is the big difference between a resident and a citizen. When you’re a resident, you do everything that a citizen can do, you pay your taxes, and you do everything that a citizen can do- with the exception of voting or holding an elected position. When I was in grad school, I met my husband, who lived in Texas. So when I graduated from my masters, I moved to Texas, and worked for Dell computers.

In grad school, you know when you’re in grad school you go party a lot, you go to bars, so whenever you enter any place, you have to show an ID. I always carried my passport, my Mexican passport that has the big letters “MEXICO” on the top, in my back pocket. It happened many times that the bouncers, that were checking my passport, would be incredibly friendly. And even the bouncers inside of the clubs were very welcoming, even protective of me. There were many African- American guys, and it was very interesting because I always felt like they saw me as a minority. You know, there’s this girl, that is Hispanic, and is a minority, and we are a minority. It was a pretty interesting experience to feel welcome and protected. I believe it’s just because I was a minority. And so because we were both minorities, they wanted to bond with me.

This is something that happened many years ago when I moved to Austin. I was at a Taco Cabana, and I was going to order food. The guy in front of me was a Hispanic worker. He looked like he had been working outside, and very humbly, and very shy, he was pointing at the #2 plate. He could not speak English, and he was pointing. The guy at the register, your very typical american white guy, is looking at him, and is like, “Okay, #2, but do you want corn or flour,” and the poor guy could not answer. You know, like he was brave enough to be able to come to the counter, and point to the number, and have the money to pay for the number two, but this guy had no kindness in himself, and no consideration, and he was like blurring all those words, like ‘do you want black beans or re-fried’ adadadadada. So this guy could not help. So I intervened, and I translated it for him. That's happened to me many times, especially at a grocery store register, where people are paying, or when people are ordering. I feel frustrated to see that there are people in this country that have no consideration and patience for those who do not speak their language.

I have been very happy to be a citizen. This is now my home. This is where my children have been born and they are being raised. Its this dichotomy, like I am Mexican, and I still cook Mexican, and we speak Spanish in the house, and we do all these things that are very Mexican, but I am an American because this is where I can vote- I am part of this community.